Friday, January 15, 2021

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave - Catherine Howard 5th Wife of Henry VIII

Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, and the first cousin to the famous Anne Boleyn, had Henry nearly giddy with her. She won Henry over and he was quite pleased with his new wife.

Catherine Howard
By Hans Holbein the Younger -, Public Domain,

Prior to  her marriage with Henry, Catherine Howard led a promiscuious life. While she lived with her father's step-mother, Agnes Tilney at Chesworth House, she had an affair with the music tutor, Henry Manox.

When Catherine tired of Manox, she turned her affections to a relative and secretary, Frances Dereham. The two not only consummated their relationship but also called each other husband and wife and promised marriage which in the eyes of the church was as good as a marriage.

Manox found out about the relationship and told Agnes Tilney about her step-granddaughter and Dereham. Upset over the impropriety of Howard, Agnes sends her granddaughter to court and Dereham to Ireland.

Once at court Catherine served as lady-in-waiting to then queen, Anne of Cleves. Henry never really attracted to his fourth wife was quickly interested in his wife's new lady. Before his divorce to Anne, Henry started courting Catherine Howard and soon after was giving her gifts for all to see.

Henry had his marriage to Anne annulled, executed Thomas Cromwell who encouraged the marriage, and married Catherine Howard. The couple seemed happy and everyone believed a child would soon follow. The new queen was not experienced like her cousin or others of the king's other wives in the art of Court. She was young in comparison and na├»ve.

But when Henry became sick, Catherine was sent away for her safety. Unwisely, she has her two ex-lovers, Madox and Dereham brought to court to serve there. Some believe this could have been to silence them about their relationship with her. It's thought that it's at this time, while away, Catherine begins a her adulterous relationship with Thomas Culpeper.

Jane Boleyn
By English school -, Public Domain,

Culpeper was not a nice man. He'd been charged with brutally rapping a ground's keeper's wife as he ordered three servants to hold her down. He then murdered a villagers who tried to intervene.  

Jane Boleyn, the widow of George Boleyn who had been executed with his sister Anne, helped arrange the meetings for the queen and her lover. The gossip of course begins and soon reaches Henry's ears. But Henry refuses to believe the accusations.

Henry VIII
By After Hans Holbein the Younger - eAHC0d0WiemXSA — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain,

But when Dereham and Culpeper confess under the Kings torture, Henry's fears are realized. Cramer interrogates the young fearful queen. The archbishop feels pity on her and encourages her to admit to a precontract of marriage to Dereham in hopes Henry would annul the marriage and Catherine's life would be spared. But due to lack of council and her youth, Catherine thinks this will bring about her execution and so refuses to admit to it.

Dereham and Culpeper are put to death. Dereham is hung, drawn and quartered while still alive. Due to his rank, Culpeper is spared the terrible death and beheaded. Their heads are put on the London Bridge. Catherine is stripped of her title and put away for two months. But Henry shows no mercy on her and she is beheaded as well as Jane Boleyn who helped arrange her meetings with Culpeper. 

Sadly, Catherine Howard died a mere eighteen months after becoming queen, leaving no children and no real mark in history. 


A broken heart, a controlling father, and an intrusive Scot leave Charlotte Jackson reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With the futures of her three younger sisters at stake, as well as her own reputation, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness.

Eager to find the traitor that caused the death of his brother, Duncan Mackenzie comes to America and attempts to fit in with Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan takes on a second mission—acquiring the lass's hand. After being spurned several times, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 6 pekin ducks.


  1. Thanks for posting. I do not like this Henry VIII!!! And I wonder how Catherine learned her traitorous lifestyle.

    1. Hahaha. You would think that these women would think twice before marrying the man!

  2. WOW I love how I am always learning something new about history. Thanks for posting today.

    1. Hey Lori! Thanks for coming by. I'm so glad you learn from HHH. That is inspiring!